Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins give US skiers Bode Miller and Darren Rahlves a hard time in her column, U.S. skiers 'Best in the World'? Not a chance, for not 'podiuming' (that's what the snowboarders call it, dude!) in Sunday's men's downhill event.
Miller skied with more abandon, actually leading the race after the first time interval before he inexplicably let time leak away in the lower section of the course. But afterward he was vague and esoteric, suggesting that he skied to some purer, invisible, inner standard of excellence.
"I feel I skied the way I hoped would reflect a positive objective end result," he said. "But when there's a discrepancy there, you have a moment of confusion and disappointment. But after that, what can you do? My subjective criteria was satisfied. Subjectively is how I ski."
Maybe I'm too dense to appreciate the subtleties of Miller's subjective goals. I thought the point was to ski faster than everyone else. The trouble with Miller's articulacy is, sometimes it sounds like excuse making.
Usually I hate the focus on winning a medal at the Games, especially the "quest for gold" bs that consumes the US broadcasters every Olympics. But this time I think Jenkins may have a valid point. Rahlves and Miller both had the fastest training runs. And then before the event there was all this crazy last-minute changing of equipment, with Miller skiing on some new factory-fresh pair of skis, and Rahlves planning to and then switching back to his old skis only minutes before his run. That just struck me as odd.
Then the races themselves. Both guys looked fine out there, but not aggressive. Not like they wanted to win. Sure it's important to be satisfied. And sure, you don't want to beat yourself up when, as Rahlves said, "I did what I could, and that's how it turned out." But come on! It's the Olympics! You gotta want it! Enough with this new-age touchy-feely satisfaction of some inner criteria, bring home the hardware!!!